Malaysia: Re-Hearing of Remand Applications


Urgent Appeal Case: UA981119
ISSUES: Legislation,

The ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION urge you to continue your support for justice and human rights in Malaysia. Further updates on AHRC Urgent Appeal on Malaysia.

People are defying the police as the government declared illegal any pro-Anwar Ibrahim demonstrations. These week police have threathen that illegal protester could be arrested under the Internal Security Act which allows for indefinite detention without trial. The Malaysian law states that any public meeting of more than three people without a police permit can be declared an illegal assembly, punishable by a fine of up to 10,000 ringgit (2,630 dollars) and a year in jail. At present, those arrested in anti-government rallies are detained for several days then released on bail pending trial.

Access to lawyers denied 15 November 98, about 300 protestors including participants to the Asia Pacific Assembly (APPA), together with others demonstrated in front of the KLCC. They dispersed at noon. There were calls for Mahathir to Resign and also \"Reformasi\". After lunch the protestor continued their call for Mahathir to Resign infront of the KLCC. The multiracial group composed of all Malaysians numbered around 150 – 200, there were about 50 Indians and many Chinese as well, all of whom were Malaysians. At about 2.30pm, riot police sprayed dyed water on these demonstrators, media and curious on-lookers. Plainclothes policemen then chased the demonstrators even intothe Supermarkets. At least 7 persons were detained ,surprisingly, they were all Malays.

16 November 98, lawyers from the Legal Aid Centre put in writing that they are representing all those detained in connection with the said \"illegal\" assembly. The investigating officer, all the police officers in the remand room, and Magistrate Puan Fathiyah, should have been aware of the presence of the lawyers handed two letters informing her of their presence.

When the cases were heard the Magistrate and the police chose not to call the lawyers in. The Magistrate proceeded to do the remand hearing, and after the order for 7 day remand was handed down, a police officer came out and told the lawyers that the remand hearing of the said suspects was going on.

The lawyers stepped in and protested to the Magistrate that the remand hearing be done again, and that it was totally unjust and against the law to proceed with the remand hearing without the presence of the lawyers on record. The Magistrate then directed the lawyers to wait and that she will hear them after she was done with all the other remand cases.

When the Magistrate ultimately called the lawyers in, the detainees had already been taken to the police lock-ups. After the lawyers explained that they had been on record and should be called in. Access to lawyers have been denied, despite being on record.

7-Day detention for \"illegal assembly\" 16 November 98 and 18 November 98 the last two times when persons arrested for \"illegal assembly\" have seen the Magistrate ordering a remand of 7 days. Previous cases of illegal assembly saw Magistrates giving remand orders of only 3-4 days. Even when the number of suspects arrested were over hundred, remand orders of 3-4 days.

On 17 November 98, about 17 persons were arrested in connection with an \"illegal\" assembly. On 18 November 98, only two persons were brought before the Magistrate for remand. We are informed that some had been released unconditionally.

On 18 November 98, lawyers from the Legal Aid Centre went before Y.A.Datuk Wahab Patail (Criminal High Court (1) Judge) with a request that the said judge do a revision of the remand proceedings on 16 November 98, where the Legal Aid lawyers were denied access when the matter was heard despite the fact that the said lawyers had put on record

(in writing) that they were acting for all those arrested for illegal assembly on 15 November 98.

Re-hearing The judge while refusing to do revision informed the lawyers that he will direct the Magistrate who heard the remand application on 16 November 98 to re-hear the remand a application in the afternoon of 19 November.98.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: AHRC condemns the use of Internal Security Act (ISA) as a violation of the rule of law, human rights and the principles of democratic government and calls on the Malaysian government to repeal the ISA in total. AHRC is very concern on the frequent unreasonable force used by the police to disperse peaceful rallies and protests.

Please continue to send your appeals letters and faxes to the Malaysian authorities urging: – all ISA detainees be released immediately without conditions – condemn the use of the ISA on legitimate expressions of dissent; – that police brutality at peaceful gatherings of citizens be curbed immediately;and the right to freedom of assembly and expression be respected. – release all those arrested in the streets immediately or charge them immediately; – condemn the use of force and intimidation on detainees and condemn police intimidation on family and friends of the detainees; – ensure that all medical assistance will be made available to detainees; – urge that bail be given to Anwar Ibrahim for the duration of his trial; – ensure that all suspects and detainees have access to lawyers.


Dato Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Jalan Dato’ Onn 50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Faxes: 603 – 238 3784, 2984172,

Dato Tajol Rosli Ghazali Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Jalan Dato Onn 50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Faxes: 603 – 230 1051

Datuk Mokhtar Abdullah Attorney General’s Chambers Jabatan Peguam Negara Malaysia, Tingkat 20, Bangunan Bank Negara Malaysia Jalan Tangsi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Fax: 60-3-2984172

Tan Sri Rahim Noor, Inspector-General of Police Ibu Pejabat Polis Persekutuan, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Fax: 603-2910707

send copies to diplomatic representative of Malaysia accredited to your country.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA981119
Countries : Malaysia,
Issues : Legislation,